The iTunes Festival that turned into an actual festival

Monday, 30 September 2013

(Daniel's photo)
So I already told you about that time Daniel and I went to see Kings of Leon. Well we got lucky again... and again (and again and again and again). We got so lucky, I'm scared we've used up all of our luck for this year. Knocking on wood as we speak.

We got so many tickets through yplan, but had to give some back, because we weren't able to go. We also won two sets the more usual way (i.e. directly from Apple). Anyway, I'll stop bragging now, and talk about who we actually saw. Apart from Kings of Leon, we also saw Primal Scream, Gabrielle Aplin and HAIM. I already told you how much I enjoyed Kings of Leon, and whilst I wasn't the biggest fan of Primal Scream, I absolutely loved Gabrielle Aplin and HAIM, they're such cool ladies! Gabrielle Aplin is just so so adorable and has a stunning voice and the HAIM sisters... well I don't even know what to say, pretty sure when you look up cool online, it just comes up with photos of them. Yeah I know not the newest kinda joke, but seriously! They asked for sweets and chocolate mid way through and actually had a little munch. I wish I was as cool. Maybe not quite as cool, I'm not sure I'm down with being a rockstar, but you know almost as cool.

Oh and I also discovered Dan Croll, whose music I very much enjoyed!

Anyway, I thought I'd just quickly share with you whom I enjoyed, so if you want to, you can give them a listen on iTunes.

Here's my recommendations:

❤ Gabrielle Aplin
❤ Kings of Leon
❤ Dan Croll

You can find all the full gigs using this link.

P.S. I'm currently drinking lemon-cucumber water out of a Fosters glass, I think maybe I'm already cool.

Birthday Weekend Part 2: About Time at Everyman

Sunday, 29 September 2013

On the Saturday, Daniel took me to see "About Time" at the Everyman in Belsize Park. Before I get into how perfect an evening we had, I'd like to tell you a little bit more about the way Daniel likes to give presents. He doesn't just write in a card detailing what we're going to do, he does it in riddles. Sometimes it turns into a little treasure hunts, and sometimes it's an actual riddle, i.e. something I have to figure out. This time it was a riddle, which I solved at 6 o'clock in the morning. Go me. The one for the Saturday was my favourite, all I was given were 4 images.

One of a bolt.
One of a clock.
One of an @ sign and
One of men and women with arrows pointing at some.

Yeah. Not very straight forward! I won't lie to you, I wouldn't have gotten it without his help, but I loved the creativity. So the bolt was, because it sort of sounds like about. The clock for time (this one I did get, go me!). The @ again pretty straight forward, but the last one?? It took some hints to get me to realise, that the arrows were pointing at all the men, and not at a single women. So long story short, it stood for Everyman, my favourite cinema in the whole wide world (you're getting a theme here of how amazing my weekend was, starting with my favourite restaurant in the whole world and continuing at my favourite cinema in the whole world!).

If you're not familiar with the Everyman, it's a small, very exclusive cinema chain. As Daniel says, you can tell you're in one, by the fact that you can hear spoons in dessert glasses instead of rustling popcorn. They bring you all your drinks and snacks to your seat. And oh boy do they have a selection! They have things like olives, frozen yoghurt, teapigs teas, chocolate covered raisins etc etc. We went for frozen yoghurt (I had mine with fresh fruit, deeeeeeeelicious!), chocolate covered raisins, and I had a rooibos tea as well. Pretty amazing already, right? It gets better!!! Let me talk a little about the seats. We had the very best seats in the whole cinema for two reasons! Firstly, they were back middle in the very middle, even the waitress acknowledged that they were the best ones in the whole room. Secondly, Daniel treated us to Premium seats, which means it's pretty much a sofa, so you can snuggle up. You can also put the seat back, and the footrest up. Honestly words cannot describe how comfortable this cinema experience is.

Let me be honest, in this cinema, I'd probably gladly watch the shittest film. I would. Just for the comfort, and I really wasn't expecting that much from the film, mainly because it just looked like a straight forward Romcom, but also because we'd only seen bad films in the last month.
I was wrong. I was so so wrong. Daniel and I both absolutely LOVED the film. It had everything you want in it, it was hilarious (like laugh out loud, happy funny. They say things like "never trust a blueberry", come on!!), it was heartwarming and it had a lovely morale. It's a film where you genuinely go out promising yourself to appreciate the little things more and to dwell less on what annoys you. It's a beautiful film, and I'm definitely planning to watch it again. Here's a trailer:

Have you seen it yet? Also have you ever been to an Everyman Cinema? They're slightly pricey, but so worth it at the same time! I'd rather only go to the cinema sometimes and go to one of these, than pay 10 pounds to go to a regular ones, where you can't even fit your drink in the drink holder (plus I think 10 Pounds is pretty steep anyway!). Plus they usually choose good films for these cinemas (since they can only show 1-2 at the same time, they're fairly small), which is a plus too!

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend.

P.S. Very random, but Daniel thought I should mention that we had delicious homemade pesto just before we went to the cinema. And now that he's said it, I kind of agree, it was super delicious, and therefore made the evening even more perfect!

Birthday Weekend Part 1

Saturday, 28 September 2013

I told you yesterday that I wanted to share the wonderful birthday weekend Daniel had planned for me with you. On the Friday (my actual birthday), he took me to my favourite restaurant in the whole wide world: The Gate. It's a vegetarian restaurant, but trust me it's just amazing food, which both vegetarian and meat-eating people agree on. All their dishes are just perfectly balanced, and as a food critic said "The Gate have turned vegetables into chic little explosions of taste". I've been in love with their food ever since I first went there. They had been refurbishing their first restaurant for a while, but it just reopened, so I was especially pleased to go back to the place where my love story with the Gate started.
Unfortunately the photos don't do the food any justice, because it was pretty dark, but you know just to give you an idea.
No photo, but I started with a Raspberry-Pear juice, which was just sooo tasty and elegant and as smooth as velvet, definitely the most comforting drink I've ever had!
From the food descriptions, you'll be able to get an idea of how beautifully composed all the dishes are! There's always so many components that end up causing a taste explosion in your mouth when combined (they're pretty good on their own too!)

For starters, Daniel had the Mediterranean vegetable tart: Red pepper, courgette, and slow dried tomato baked with crème fraiche in a cheese pastry served with leaves, pesto dressing and olive tapenade.

Oh my word was this delicious!

I don't know how it's even possible, but I think mine might have even been a nuance more delicious. I know I know, how can it get even better than that? Wait for it:

I went for the filled courgette flower: filled with fava been, feta cheese, mint and pine nuts cooked in a crispy batter with puy lentil salsa and preserved lemon aioli.

I'm not even going to attempt to describe to you how this tasted, it was so sensational, there are no words, you literally have to go and try it!

Moving on to mains. Daniel had an 'oh my word again there cannot be words to describe how comforting this felt in my mouth" Wild Mushroom Risotto cake: served with sauté girolles, pied de mouton, oyster and paris brown, with cep reduction and finished with rocket and Twineham grange shavings in truffle dressing. I think this might have actually been one of the best things I've ever tasted!

I had a spicy corn and polenta cake: seasoned with chili, coriander and thyme, pan-fried and served with sweet potato, grilled aubergine, oven-dried tomato and spiced pickled fennel, finished with red pepper, black bean salsa and coriander and lime dressing.

Potentially the weakest dish of the evening, but still a whole world better than any food outside of the Gate :). If you do go there, I recommend that along with the risotto cake, you also get the root vegetable rotolo: parsnip, swede and celeriac wrapped in thyme-infused potato topped with dolcelatte cheese, served with french beans, peppercorn and coarse-grain mustard sauce and finished with sweet potato crisps. I haven't had this one in particular before, but I've tried two or three different variations of their Rotolo, and have always been loving it. They're AMAZING!!

We also shared a portion of Polenta chips with garlic aioli, which you know, were just necessary ;)

Unfortunately there wasn't a single dessert without nuts when we went which was a little upsetting. But again if you do go, I'd like to make a recommendation anyway: their crème brûlées are just insanely good! I've had their earl grey one and also their lavender one and both were super tasty.

All in all a pretty wonderful start to my birthday weekend, wouldn't you say?

Hej you!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Hej you!
I've worked full time for a whole month now. 1 whole month. 4 weeks. I've received my first pay too. It's like I'm a grown up or something. But then also not quite yet. I'm struggling to post on this little blog at the moment, which is ok, because I only want to blog, when I feel like it, you know? Today I feel like it. I wanted to blog about my birthday weekend, because Daniel put together a wonderful weekend of delicious food, the comfiest of all cinemas and a Harry Potter Tour, but I will document that weekend another day. Today I just wanted to check in and say Hi.

I like working. I've met many great people that have so far failed to get annoyed when I ask yet another question with probably a very obvious answer, and they've made my start so much smoother. The one thing I really don't like is getting up at 6 o'clock. Ok make that 6.11, which is the very latest I can push it. I want to cry every single morning, because even though I'd describe myself as a morning person, I'm just not even a person before 7am. But that's changing a little soon, so it's not even worth moaning about.

But how are you people? How was your week/month etc? I'm genuinely interested, you know.

Oh but before I go, can I just tell you a cute little story? You know how I talked about mums being great the other day? Well Daniel's isn't bad either. She's not my mum, which is as we established what makes a mum the best mum, and I'd still rather be around my own mum when I'm ill or you know in general (I even already think about how I'll make sure to see her often when I'm pregnant one day), but she did something pretty sweet the other day. In the middle of the night when she went downstairs to get a drink, she heard me coughing, so she made me hot lemon water with honey. In that moment, it was the best, most soothing thing in the world ever. And then the next day, she bought me some "antibacterial honey" (Manuka). I'd been going on about that stuff for weeks, and we won't tell her that I already have a pot, but her noticing it in M&S and picking it up for me, I thought was pretty sweet. I'm very lucky with all the lovely people (mums and non-mums) I have around me.


About having the best mum in the world

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Mums are pretty great aren't they? I think I might actually have the best one, and what I like most about this statement is that it can be true for anyone, without being less true for anyone else. Everyone who's lucky enough to have a caring mum can have the best one, because it's the best one for them, because mums always know what their kids need.

My mum does anyway, and I wholeheartedly hope that you're blessed with a mum that's just right for you too, one that always knows when something is wrong, and how it can be fixed, just like mine :)
It was my birthday on Friday (23 isn't old yet right? But then, I'm not even kidding when I tell you that yesterday morning (Monday after) I looked in the mirror and for the first time ever noticed a wrinkle, coincidence much?). Mum had sent me a pretty huge parcel, which I was obviously very exited to open (which means I actually opened it at 6 o'clock in the morning, firstly because I'm a huge child and secondly because I had to leave for work soon after, and just couldn't leave it alone until 7 in the evening).
I apologise, the photo really doesn't do the box any justice, but I really wanted to share this present with you now ;)
Inside was very very carefully wrapped this First Aid Box filled with things to cheer me up when I'm down/not feeling very well. I already told you that I have this annoying tendency to worry too much and I also told you about having been ill for way too long (nothing major, just feeling coldy). Mum sent me this box, so I'd have lots of things that can cheer me up, put a smile on my face again and distract me from feeling ill, amongst the many things in there you could find more obvious choices, like chocolate, tea and DVDs, but also very creative things for which the thought behind them just fills my heart with joy: ink to write love letters with, flying wish paper to post your wishes to the universe, a kaleidoscope to look at things differently (which is sometimes so muchly needed), and many many more things, each individual piece chosen with so much love and care.
Isn't this the sweetest present in the whole world? Oh and it came with a proper handwritten letter too, amazing right?

I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful mum. I'm genuinely so grateful (and obviously not just because she's pretty good at giving me presents I like). She's always there for me. I'm 23 now, and when I'm ill (like now), she checks up on me every day and makes sure I don't put too much pressure on myself, because you know when you're ill, you just really need your mum (well I do anyway, not sure that will ever go away). And I know, even if I just wanted to moan about feeling coldy at three o'clock at the moment, she'd be there on the other end of the phone for me :).

So yes, that's my little story for today. I'd love to hear some mum stories from you, like things you always did when you're a kid/that you do now or you know anything really.

P.S. I hope you all started in the new week well, did you know we passed the 100 days till Christmas mark?

Thank you ever so much YPlan, I'll happily take those (free) Kings of Leon tickets of you!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

I told you about YPlan before, haven't I? But then of course I don't expect you to have read everything I've ever written on here. Basically, it's a brilliant app for last minute events in London, ranging from Outdoor Cinema in the Park to Magic Shows, Comedy and Concerts. If you haven't already, you absolutely need to sign up. I mean it. Do it now, before you continue reading (should you wish to do so). You can thank me later. Oh and if you do download it, use the code GOODBYE- to get £7 towards your first purchase on there (and if you make that first purchase, it gets me £7 too, I just thought you should know). Anyway, enough free advertising for YPlan, let me tell you what they gave me for free!

Yesterday evening, Daniel and I got to go to the iTunes Festival to see Kings of Leon, one of my favourite bands! I'm sure you all know about the iTunes Festival, basically it's a series of (really super amazingly cool) concerts, to which you can only win tickets. Daniel and I signed up to so many, but unfortunately are yet to win any. Sad times. Then I found out that YPlan put on a handful of tickets (also for free) at 11 o'clock the day before all the concerts. Sweet. Thing is, (surprisingly) we weren't the only ones that got exited about this. We both had alarms set for 11 o'clock on Tuesday morning, we both kept refreshing until it appeared on the app, and we were left disappointed when it was sold out before it even appeared on our screen. Gutted.
Luckily I think some sort of higher power really wanted me to go, so yesterday when I just wanted to have a general look what was on that evening, I saw that there were Kings of Leon tickets!! And I'm sure you will have guessed by now, I got them. Two beautiful tickets. So for once I left precisely at the end of the working day and raced to Camden, and got there with about two minutes to spare to pick up the tickets. It was then that we found out, that not only were we lucky enough to get tickets on the day to one of our favourite bands, YPlan tickets also got you fast track entrance, i.e. no queuing in the rain! Can you even believe how cool all of this is? I definitely couldn't until we were in and heard live music (Jimmy Eat World was supporting act!).
The concert itself was so so so so good! I had seen them live once before, and would definitely do it again straight away. I would happily have paid for this, it was a great concert. I just love Anthony Followill's voice (definitely gave me goosebumps more than once!) and there was a great atmosphere, because it was a much smaller venue than what they'd normally play, but big enough for the type of music they do (it was at the roundhouse in Camden). Amazing.
What a beautiful venue!

Can we just briefly talk about one thing that annoys me about concerts though? Encores. I don't get them. Can't they just play all their lovely songs and when it's over it's over? I don't like that encores have just become expected, and that some of the best songs are purposely saved for them. I don't even know why they annoy me so much. If I was in a band, I'd make it clear from the beginning that there wouldn't be one. One of the many reasons why my career as a rock/popstar would probably fail quite miserably ;)

Did you enter for any iTunes festival tickets? Who would you like to see out of the lot? Oh also, if you do win some amazing tickets on YPlan as well, you kind of have to take me along, you know because I pushed you in that direction. If you insist on taking an actual friend instead (although let me tell you I could be a great friend, I'd even buy you a drink), a nice meal will do instead, that'd totally be ok too!

Street Feast

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Today, we went against Razorlight's advice to not go to Dalston, ate our body weight in the form of a Burrito, received free food and drink from people who loved Daniel's card tricks, and are now snuggled up in bed after watching New Girl (YES to Jess and Nick finally kind of being an item!), so it's been a pretty good day so far!
But let's start at the beginning! I'd been wanting to go to Street Feast for weeks (since I heard about it). I'm sure you have, but just in case you haven't heard about this, it's 'London's pioneering night market', it's where you can find London's best street food traders, chefs and restaurants. It's on from 5 o'clock - midnight on Fridays and midday-midnight on Saturdays. Today was the day I could finally persuade Daniel to trek down to Dalston for some tasty street food! It's so so cool, if you get a chance, you should definitely go, I wish I could have tried all of it. If you're interested at all, check out the website I linked above, there's always a menu type thing where you see who's there that weekend and what you can buy from whom. They do it in all sorts of different locations, like breweries, warehouses or old tube stations for example, which definitely adds a certain something. I'm not entirely sure how much longer it's going on for this year (it seems like a summer thing), but the website updates all the time, so have a look next weekend or so :)
As per usual, Daniel was playing around with cards whilst we were having a look at the different stalls, and guess what, today we actually got something out of it! Sellers were so impressed that he was given BBQ chicken wings and two drinks we ordered were on the house at the bar too!
BBQ Chicken Wings from The Joint
I started with 'Chinese pancakes flipped with fresh eggs, coriander, spring onions, a blend of Chinese sauces and a Wonton Cracker' from Mei Mei's Street Cart, which was different to anything I had ever had before, but I have to say pretty tasty! For meat eaters, this would have also included duck meat.

I loved that it was wrapped in asian newspaper as well, added a nice touch! Food from Mei Mei's Street Car

Of course we couldn't stop after one course though, we had travelled for over one hour to get there, and come on, how could we possibly have gone home without having had a Burrito? So we went for it (of course we did, it's not like there was actually any thought process involved). We had a lovely little chat with the chap who runs their stand who told us that they're opening an actual joint for these tasty Burriots, and they're doing Street Feast as a kind of trial to make any last minute tweaks. They asked for our feedback and they got it: Very tasty indeed with a nice little crunch from the slaw! I absolutely loved the different consistencies they had going on and how fresh the whole thing tasted. Burritos can often be just mushy and heavy, and whilst these were definitely heavy in actual weight, it tasted refreshing and consistency wise was definitely a nice little change from the usual! I went for the chargrilled vegetable option and Daniel had his with pulled pork. They said they're thinking about introducing a baby burrito, which I think is a great idea, because as I said they were pretty heavy, Daniel thought you could probably knock someone out with them hah (I was not complaining though, I can eat my body weight in pizza/burritos/sushi/you name it, but I know there's a lot of people (especially girls) who wouldn't, and it'd be sad to waste such delicious food). If you like a good Burrito, you should check them out here.
Not photogenic, but oh so tasty!

I finished the day lunch with a mango lassi with cardamon and rosewater (which sadly had a little too much rosewater and cardamon in, but was otherwise absolutely beautiful), and Daniel with a honeycomb cupcake. A very delicious day indeed :)

Because Dalston is probably actually Hipster Central, I thought some Hipster-ish filters would be appropriate ;)

Have you ventured there too? If you have, what was your favourite? I'd love to hear and maybe check out the places in 'real life' as in at their actual location :)

P.S. Does anyone else get this thing where they feel very hungry as soon as the sickness from eating way too much fades? I always get this, everyone else I know just won't be hungry for a while, but I think I just extend my stomach so much that I get hungry sooner than before, very odd. I'm such a fatty.

Photos from my Erasmus Year in Grenoble

Sunday, 1 September 2013

I'm not sure if you knew but in my third year of uni, I went to Grenoble in France for 9 months to do an Erasmus year. On my course, we had the choice between doing a placement and going abroad and you probably gathered by now that I chose the latter. I might talk about my time there another time, tonight is all about photos that I found on my macbook that I thought would be nice to share :) (If anyone has any questions about it now though, feel free to ask). 
This is one of my favourite photos of my mum and nan! It was taken in the cutest little tea shop where they had a book-thick menu just for teas, incredible. When you ordered your tea, they brought you a huge pot, a mug and a cute little timer, where you could time your own tea depending on whether it was green, black or rooibos tea. There was also a really cool Games café in Grenoble, where you had a menu of board games, and a Sommelier to recommend games to you based on whether you want something funny or strategic and how long you'd like to stay for. Two really cool joints, I wish I had gone there more often!
There were a lot of nights spent in bed with Audrey and Rory Gilmore ❤

And A LOT of comfort food was eaten!
There was also a lot of counting down days and travelling back and forth between Grenoble and London
One of my favourite things about living in France (apart from the pastries) was being able to go to markets! They were so colourful and beautiful, and the food was soooo tasty!
P.S. I apologize for the photo varying photo quality, but I can't change that now, and I still wanted to share the photos from Grenoble :) I hope you don't mind!